Sunday, October 28, 2007

Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda - Nor Cal Wins

So Sunday found the following pairings in the semi-finals:

New England v. Nor Cal
Mid Atlantic v. Pacific NW

On paper by win-loss record through the round robin, the standings looked like this:

New England 4-0, only dropped 3 lines in 20 attempts
Pacific NW 3-0, only dropped 2 lines in 5 attempts
Mid-Atlantic 3-0, dropped 5 lines in 15 attempts
NorCal 2-1, dropped 6 lines in 15 attempts.

The results were not suprising, NorCal whipped New England 4-1 in some pretty easy two setters.

The other semi-final came down to the 5th line and PNW squeaked by Mid-Atlantic 15-13 in a 3rd set tie-break.

The teams had to turn around and play again immediately (which is weird) and the loser's match got to wait about an hour.

The final had NorCal playing the exact same lineup that they played against Texas.

The guy that beat Knutson got off to a great start, going up 5-2 on this kid named Adam (who's mom I sat next to) and then somehow Adam rallied and never won another game. The PNW guy won 7-5, 6-0. That was a shocker, as on Friday this dude hung with Knutson and played a very solid game. Come to find out, he sustained an injury and was having trouble moving. Props to the kid for keeping his cool and pulled it out.

The second line had the guy that Sarosh schooled on Friday playing another kid. It was almost physically painful for Sarosh to watch this guy that he whooped play in the national final.... This was the last match to finish and was the decider. More on that in a minute.

The doubles lines were much stronger than the singles lines. The guys that took down Goldberg/Thomas on Friday lost a very tight one. These guys have a deadly one-two punch when they are serving.

The 3rd line had the guys that beat Patton/Wood on Friday playing what seemed to be PNW's weakest line. They took it to a tiebreak and won it in the 3rd. These guys have pulled through all weekend in tiebreaks.

The last doubles line had a father-son duo from PNW playing against Norcal. This was a very entertaining match that saw that father-son duo go down in a 2nd set tiebreak.

The final match came down to the guy that Sarosh whooped playing a 19 year old kid. The NorCal guy took the first set easy and was up big in the 2nd, when the kid started a comeback. He came back, took it to 5 all and then the injuries set in. He had to take what seemed like an eternal injury break. They took it to a 2nd set tiebreak where on match point the kid threw up a double to lose. Poor guy.

NorCal triumphs in a very entertaining final.

Thoughts on caliber of play

After visiting with some of the FLA guys at the party and have the Norcal people tell me that they thought they got lucky to get out of our group and the Louisiana guys say the same thing, at the airport, it was clear that our group was the most evenly matched and either one of those teams in that flight could have advanced given a slight lineup change or even had a couple of points go the other way.

It was a shame to see that this team did not advance out of our flight, but there was some great tennis. Who knows what will happen with this bunch next year. The rule of 3 will kill any possibility of a repeat, and most of the guys already have (or will) get moved up to the next level.

Who knows if Freeman can pull together the talent at 4.5 or piece together a 4.0 team with the next wave of unknown's that show up at the Coke in April.

Jason did a great job assembling this group and he should be proud of what he has accomplished this year at both levels.

I will post some pictures up when I get back to Htown. This connection at the airport sucks.



  1. Thanks for the updates Chris. And you should all be proud of what you've accomplished this year, not just Jason. Just one question - do you think you could have beaten PNW if you made it out of your pool?

  2. I will let Goldberg, Thomas, Urtis and Sarosh weigh in as they were there too, but I think the doubles would have been competitive, but the singles would not have been.

  3. Singles not compeitive meaning you would have easily beaten PNW singles or they would have beaten you?

  4. Sorry for not being clear...our guys would have rolled.

  5. WOW - I've never had the privilege of being on a team that made it to Nationals but I think just about everyone that has gone has talked about how much of winning is luck of the draw/lineups and that the truely best team doesn't always win but just has things "fall into place". Of course, the Houston guys will live with regret and second guessing (they actually lost less sets and games than NorCal), but think about how FL feels - they beat NorCal.

  6. not to change the subject but Goldberg, have you heard back from the grievance committee yet?

  7. Thanks for the great updates Chris. I hope you will continue to post here in the future.

    You guys should be proud of a great season. I wouldn't be surprised if most of your players (Sarosh, Kern and Veilleux excluded) come back with 4.0 ratings next year. Despite the rule of 3 I'd still make Freeman's team a favorite next year in 4.0. I WILL be surprised if he's able to put a 4.5 team together that's able to put a dent in the Kilshaw/Green stranglehold on the trip to Sectionals, however.

  8. With the new rules it will be hard for any captain to put together a TX All Star team like Jason did.

  9. anonymous said: WOW - I've never had the privilege of being on a team that made it to Nationals but I think just about everyone that has gone has talked about how much of winning is luck of the draw/lineups and that the truely best team doesn't always win but just has things "fall into place".

    I think this even holds true for any round of post season when there are quality teams competing. As Chris described alot of these matches could have gone either way and for those you try to say there was a "lineup mistake" PUHLEESE! If they would have stacked the lineup and lost I am sure someone would have posted, "you gotta play it straight up, what a mistake!"

    Congrats to you all for putting this group together, IMHO (I am totally stealing this for awhile) if you can get to NATS and be in a position to win that is all you can ask for, there are no guarantees at that level.

  10. Who said there was a lineup mistake? It seems to me that it was just bad luck the way the lines matched up against NorCal. One change might have made it 3-2 Texas, but we'll never know. It's just lucky if your three strengths hit the opponents three weaknesses exactly.

  11. Trust me, we spent many man-hours this weekend debating the lineup and however it is sliced it fundamentally comes down to NorCal edging us out in 3 tight lines.

    Maybe it can be said that our stronger lines were "wasted" on their "weaker" lines but who really knows.

    All of our guys were in every match and the two tiebreaks in dubs and Knutson's match could have gone either way. That match COULD have been 5-0 in our favor.

  12. I did hear back from the grievience committee and I was satisfied with the response. On the question of if we made it out of our pool, could we have beaten PNW, in my opinion, I would have to say yes because after seeing the finals singles lines I was disappointed to see the level of singles players in the finals of such a big match and would have loved to have played any 4 of them. I think the doubles lines were a lot stronger.

  13. I heard from somebody up there in Tucson that Goldberg guy played great up there this weekend and just barely lost with his partner, I can't remember his name, and since he will be back at 4.5 in 2008 and such an impact player, I would surely think the Hangovers or the Crush would love to have them on their team and see some future lobbying to get them on their teams. Damn, what a pickup!

  14. yeap that Goldberg guy is good... the Yutt or Ballbuster could use him and he would actually have playing time.

  15. i think the Heat would need him more.

  16. Hey BG,

    If you are gonna make anonymous posts about yourself, make sure they are more than 4 minutes apart....


  17. So, what are y'all's plans for next year, assuming only the three that Dwyer named get bumped?

  18. Does anyone think that Freeman's 3.5 Team will be competitive in 4.0 League next year in USTA ?? What about the 4.0 Team competeing in 4.5 next year? With Kern in Fort Worth I don't see this Team being reunited next year. Knutson and Janek can't make the cut in a High Caliber 4.5 Team. Sarosh will be a competitor but at 4.5 he will have to raise his Game to be able to hang with the Sandbaggers at 4.5 Texas Sectionals.

  19. It depends on what you consider competitive. By USTA definition than definitely yes since they consider winning 4 or more games as competitive. Will they be a threat to either of the top teams at the next level - NO!

  20. Yeah Knutson and Janek and Goldberg have all played 4.5 before and were pretty middle of the road. The ringers Ahmed and Kern will be above average 4.5 tournament players at best, and when you factor in all the ringers in 4.5 league, they won't be much of a factor.

  21. I can speak for the Dallas area 3.5s that moved up. The ringers do pretty well but even my big ringer at 3.5 (Kyle Bowman) has had two losses at 4.0. John Kraemer who played singles at nats for the Houston regularly loses at 4.0 singles here in Dallas. My current fall team at 4.0 is 2-5 and we moved up most of the guys from the 3.5 sectional team and even added some help. We are as someone noted "competitive" but as far as winning that is a whole other story. Here a lot of the 4.5 teams have multiple 4.0 players on the roster so the jump up isn't that hard especially in doubles but it seems like in Houston the 4.5 teams are much deeper so I think it will be tougher for the Hurricane team but best of luck.

  22. Summarizing the National seems like even though Freeman's team didn't make it all the way, Freeman can be proud of having 2 of the best 4.0 lines in the nation...

    I think there would be no doubt that Sarosh was the best singles player at Nationals and Kern/Vellieux the best doubles team...

  23. You people crack me up. Freeman is honored and applauded for having THE BEST 4.0 singles and doubles team in the Nation (which means according to every other posting on this subject means they are actually 5.0 players). When Red, Tim, or anyone else that your average Joe tennis player objects to does the same they are scorned and called cheaters. Freeman, you're sleeping with the right people or something.

  24. Freeman is quite good in bed actually.